Exploring the role of student researchers in the process of curriculum development

Contemporary interest in student voice has evolved to include participation of ‘students as researchers’ in school affairs, which has been encouraged by political developments underpinning the rights of children. Although there has been little exploration of the role of student researchers in curriculum development, this paper provides a case study of their role in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership involving a secondary school in England working on developing enquiry-based learning. We use Basil Bernstein’s concept of framing and Clarke and Hollingsworth’s model of teacher professional learning to explore the dimensions of consequence when teachers start the process of pedagogic and curriculum innovation. There is considerable evidence of an impact on relationships between students and teachers and it is argued that this is an important lens through which to understand the role of student researchers.

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Developing student participation, research and leadership

The values and principles underpinning the ‘Leadership for Learning: Cambridge Network’ support the distribution of leadership to all members of the school community. This paper introduces the HCD (Highest Common Denominator) Student Partnership as a key way in which the ‘Leadership for Learning’ team learns from, explores and extends student leadership and participation within the current educational context. The paper opens with a consideration of current issues within the field of student voice before locating the contribution of the HCD Student Partnership within this field. Examples from recent projects with primary- and secondary-aged students are used to reflect on and illustrate the work of the Partnership with a view to sharing new practice and collaborating with new partners.

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Students’ learning about acting as change agents

This paper explores how performance culture could affect students’ learning about, and disposition towards, acting as organisational change agents in schools. This is based on findings from an initiative aimed to enable students to experience acting as change agents on an aspect of the school’s culture that concerned them. The initiative was informed by contemporary practice and concerns in the field of student voice, and worked with a systemic action research approach focused on organisational dynamics. This research found that students’ understanding of, and disposition towards doing, organisational change, seemed to be affected by how their internalisation of performance culture mediated with their concern to maintain their organisational status. Based on the theory of organisational socialisation, it argues that this may lead to a learnt inhibition towards doing organisational change in students who struggle with their organisational status in schools.

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Harnessing student voice and leadership

Despite growing scholarly interest in student voice and leadership over the past two decades, both terms continue to be used with little consensus about their meaning. They are also often evoked without much clarity or agreement as to how they should be enabled or enacted, for what purposes they should be fostered, or what conditions are necessary for them to take place. This article asks: ‘what are student voice and leadership, and how can they best be fostered in schools to enable disengaged or marginalized students?’ Drawing on the evaluation of a successful Indigenous leadership program in Australia, which works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, this discussion unpacks certain constituent parts of student voice and leadership, and explores how they can successfully be strengthened through an educational program, and the challenges arising at the interface of the program and school life.

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Developing responsible leadership through a ‘pedagogy of challenge’

This paper proposes a new model for understanding education through ‘responsible leadership’ – a term which draws on the models of distributed and authentic leadership and on a dialogic understanding of responsible action. It defines ‘dispositions for learning’ as different forms of the single quality of ‘openness to learning’. A ‘pedagogy of challenge’ is proposed as a way of developing these dispositions. The model is tested through a small-scale investigation into the effect of a two-day leadership education course on five 14-year-old students which conforms to the proposed model. This suggests a link between the students’ participation and their dispositions for learning; in addition, it suggests change in their attitude towards, and perceived performance in, their academic subjects over a four-month period. It also highlights potential conflicts between promoting responsible leadership and curricular, assessment-focused learning. Larger-scale studies are recommended.

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Identifying Student Leaders: A core self-evaluation approach

Developing future leaders is a vital aspect of an educator’s job. One way to prepare our students is to help develop those with leadership capabilities, however identifying these leaders can be a difficult task. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to use a trait-based approach to identify student leaders. The specific trait used in this study was core self-evaluation. The findings of this study support core self-evaluation as a strong indicator of student leadership.

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Social capital, relational embeddedness and regional development

This paper presents the results of a research project examining the effects of social capital on the performance of small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in 12 UK regions. It first investigates the association between performance and social capital use at the firm level, then it seeks to move beyond the confines of the individual firm in order to relate these ‘firm capabilities’ findings to the meso‐level to assess regional economic performance in relation to social capital. The research on the conscious use by firms of ‘relational embeddedness’ in markets shows this to be an important indicator of SME performance, but not conclusively of regional economic performance measured in terms of regional competitiveness.

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Community, Economic Creativity, and Organization

It has long been an interest of researchers in economics, sociology, organization studies, and economic geography to understand how firms innovate. Most recently, this interest has begun to examine the micro-processes of work and organization that sustain social creativity, emphasizing the learning and knowing through action when social actors and technologies come together in ‘communities of practice’; everyday interactions of common purpose and mutual obligation. These communities are said to spark both incremental and radical innovation. In the book, leading international scholars critically examine the concept of communities of practice and its applications in different spatial, organizational, and creative settings. Chapters examine the development of the concept, the link between situated practice and different types of creative outcome, the interface between spatial and relational proximity, and the organizational demands of learning and knowing through communities of practice. More widely, the chapters examine the compatibility between markets, knowledge capitalism, and community; seemingly in conflict with each other, but discursively not. Exploring the frontiers of the current understanding of situated knowing and learning, this book is for all those interested in the economic sociology of organizational creativity and knowledge capitalism in general.

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Flock Leadership: Understanding and influencing emergent collective behavior

This study introduces Flock Leadership, a framework for understanding and influencing emergent collective behavior in the context of human organizing. Collective capacities emerge when interactions between individuals enact divergent and convergent ways of perceiving and responding to reality. An agent-based flocking model is employed to represent these interactive dynamics and emergent processes. This study explicates the model’s constructs, translating its algorithms into behavioral norms at the individual level and its outcomes into collective behaviors at the group level. Phenomena-based simulation modeling links two collective states—technical capacity and adaptive capacity—to the specific underlying norm configurations from which they emerge. Flock Leadership provides a unique theoretical framing of emergent collective behavior in organizational settings, a new methodology for analyzing relationships between those emergent behavioral patterns and the interaction norms underlying them, and a useful means for identifying leadership opportunities.

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The Rules of the Flock: Self-Organization and Swarm Structure in Animal Societies

Flocks of birds, schools of fish and swarms of locusts display amazing forms of collective motion, while huge numbers of glow worms can emit light signals with almost unbelievable synchronization. These and many other collective phenomena in animal societies take place according to laws very similar to those governing the collective behavior in the inanimate nature, such as the magnetization of iron and the light radiation of lasers. During recent years, this has led to the study of swarm behavior as a challenging new field of science, in which ideas from the physical world are applied in order to understand the formation and structure of animal swarms. From these studies, it has become clear that such collective behavior of animals emerges in a self-organized way, without any need of overall coordination. In this book, we present different swarm phenomena of the animal world and compare them to their counterparts in physics, in a conceptual and-technical way, addressed to a general readership

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